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Willock, Governor Rankin discuss issue of assenting to bills

House of Assembly Speaker, Julian Willock

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Jullian Willock has announced that he has been communicating with the new governor, John Rankin on the issue of assenting to bills passed by elected leaders.

At the March 4 sitting of the House of Assembly, Willock said he will have more information on his communication with the Governor in the coming weeks.

But he reminded elected leaders that the constitution gives them the right to  draft and pass laws for the territory, adding that this right should not be prevented by one individual.

“If one person can consistently prevent that from happening, then we must ask the question: ‘do we still have a democratic form of government in the Virgin Islands?'” Willock said.

Immediate-past Governor Augustus Jaspert ended his term without assenting to two bills on which the government was depending to revive the COVID hit economy.

These bills are the Virgin Islands Cannabis Licensing Act, 2020, and the Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act, 2020. The lack of assent to these bills has angered elected leaders who say the move showed a lack of respect for the House of Assembly.

Willock, in his role as House Speaker, has been vocal on the matter of assent. And at Governor Rankin’s swearing-in ceremony, he warned the new UK official that his assent is a “mere formality”.

Willock also added that he expects the Cabinet to be given reasons whenever assent won’t be granted.

In the meantime, some sections of the public have questioned whether it is appropriate for Willock – in his role as House Speaker – to speak so openly about issues that concern the Governor and elected leaders.

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  1. SMH says:

    Shouldn’t this be discussed in EXCO on Monday Mornings? Why is the Speaker doing So?

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  2. ann says:

    I with the esteem on this one the governor need to have respect for the House

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  3. Question says:

    Who is Willock to be having conversations with the Governor about anything? He is the Speaker and is responsible for HOA proceedings. When will this horse and pony show end?

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  4. Common Sense says:

    What’s really going on here. Have all these persons in the house lose their navigational skills. Are you folks not quite aware that the Virgin Islands “British” is under British Rule. What are you all up to? Why all those nonsense being said and published. Are these the way of life you want to teach your children, to be always defiant? If you learn to corporate with your parent country and dont make it so obvious that you have alterior motives, thing will work well. But if you continue to be disrespectful, you will always be under scrutiny. Stop behaving like you bigger than the world. Challenge things that you disagree with in a respectable manner and the results will be rewarding. You will earn respect and will not have to begg for it.

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  5. My two cents says:

    Keep on the governor prince Willock you are the right man for the speaker job

  6. Empire says:

    These governors out of order the speaker is doing his job

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  7. Veto says:

    The power of veto has to be factored in. It is a fallacy to think that once a bill is passed it will gain assent.

  8. @ 2 cents says:

    The esteemed one is Who’S running the country from behind the scene it’s just that uncle Andy ain’t know it yet

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